One very pleasing thing about the revival of Newcastle United is how solid the back four have become.
Abdoulaye Faye – outstanding at the back for Newcastle
And one of the key players in the back four of course is big Abdoulaye Faye, who has been as solid as a rock at the back and heâ€™s very good in the air.
But itâ€™s hard to single out just one because Habib Beye, Steven Taylor and Jose Enrique have also been playing very well indeed and also deserve plaudits.
Habib Beye is turning intro a great right back for the club and he talked to the Newcastle Journal today about his Senegal partner Abdoulaye Faye:
â€œWhen Abdoulaye came to Newcastle, I told people that he would be an excellent defender and an excellent leader for the team,â€ â€œIn the last few weeks, I think you have been able to see exactly what I meant.â€
â€œHe is a very good central defender and he has made a number of important tackles and headers in the last few matches. But he is also a leader at the back.â€
â€œHe helps to make other players play better by leading them and telling them what to do. I think he will be our defensive leader for the rest of the season.â€
Faye and Beye were signed on the very last day of the transfer window last August 31st, and the singings weren’t announced until 15 minutes after the deadline. But it tunrs out that the two of them were the best two singings Big Sam made, at the last minute.
The improvement in the back four is even more impressive in the last few weeks because it has been done with the same players Kevin inherited from Sam Allardyce. But Kevin and his coaches, Chris Hughton and Steve Round have to be given credit too. The shape of the team has looked very solid these last few games and we know those two work with the team a lot on defense and also on set plays, which are also very impressive.
Also weâ€™ve noticed a distinct lack of injuries since Keegan came to the club â€“ something which persistently disrupted the team over the winter â€“and over the last few seasons – and that has also led to a more settled side that Keegan has continued to play.
â€œItâ€™s easier for us to defend now that we are playing with the same defence every game. If you know the guy alongside you, it is much easier to play with him than with someone you are not used to.â€
â€œWhen you are defending it is important to get the basics right like marking and staying in a line and it is easier to do that if you are playing with the same people week after week.â€
â€œOur defending has been excellent recently. We kept a clean sheet against Reading and then we kept another one down at Portsmouth, which is a very difficult place to go to as a defender.â€
â€œItâ€™s very important to keep a clean sheet and, if we could do that in every game, it would give us a really good base to build from.â€
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we now have 3 clean sheets in our last 5 games. That’s what we just couldn’t achieve earlier in the season, and a clean sheet on Sunday is just what the doctor ordered, so we can get back to our winning ways against north east rivals, Sunderland.